While the NFL Network counts down the Top 100 names from 2015 voted on by players, CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco has his own. On Thursday, he released 100 names to watch for in 2016 and listed two Buccaneers on his list — defensive tackle Gerald McCoy at No. 26 and running back Doug Martin at No. 96.
Here is what he had to say about both:
On McCoy: McCoy’s play slipped off some last season from 2014, but he is still one of the better inside players. He had 8.5 sacks last season, but his run play wasn’t as good as in years past. Then again, he didn’t have as much help around him.
On Martin: He had a resurgent season in 2015, finishing second in the league in rushing. That earned him a long-term deal from the Bucs this spring.
Yes, Martin’s play from a season ago earned him a new contract from general manager Jason Licht and Tampa Bay. But it is Martin’s past that questions his future. Can he remain healthy? Can he duplicate or come close to repeating last season’s performance? All valid reasons why his signing could have been questioned.
As for McCoy, I have confidently said he will hit the double-digit sack mark this season. It’s not a matter of whether he needs help, it’s a matter of what he is asked to do. Times where McCoy is in the backfield is when he quickly gets off the snap not looking to “take up space”. Defensive coordinator Mike Smith’s vision of putting players in the best positions to succeed will greatly benefit McCoy and company in 2016. Add in new defensive line coach Jay Hayes and we may see a McCoy we have never seen before.
Now to the list. If it were me, I’d probably put three Buccaneers for certain: Quarterback Jameis Winston, wide receiver Vincent Jackson and McCoy. Winston will most likely best his 2015 rookie campaign and a healthy Jackson will allow both to feed off each other, making Jackson a nice comeback story for 2016.